For the last several days we’ve been talking about building your online course and what software to use to host it.
What we haven’t covered, and is as important if not more so than your course software, are your other software needs to deliver an exceptional experience for your learners.
In today’s online climate there is more competition for your students’ attention than ever before. You have more competition to get your message in front of people and heard.
The single most effective thing you can do to combat both of these issues is to deliver an exceptional learner experience.
Every. Single. Time.
And the way to do that is to think through your course, beginning to end, from your learner’s perspective.
Consider all of the touch points you have with them and improve each of them.
Recognize potential trouble spots and build in more support.
Study the points in your course where people tend to drop off and offer them encouragement.
There are a whole host of things you can do to amp up the experience your learners have, and they all require software to pull of.
So let’s talk about that.
The first thing you will need is an email system. If you can combine marketing automation with your email system that will be the most helpful and cost effective.
There are a lot of other options like MailChimp and ActiveCampaign, but we have found that Infusionsoft and Zoho offer the most flexibility, more integration options, scalability and they work with self hosted course platforms as well.
The email/marketing automation software is what will allow you to control your communication with your students, to send “smart” messages just when they need to see it, and let them know you are thinking of them.
YouTube is a great, and free, video hosting platform that will work with pretty much any course platform, all in one or self hosted.
There is a drawback, and that’s security of your videos. You can upload them and set them to unlisted, but that doesn’t mean people can’t copy and share the link.
It does offer some analytics, but not extensive ones.
Still, it is a great option as you are starting out until you have some income coming in so you can have the course pay for itself.
You’ll need Google Docs so you can share documents, track important course analytics and create things. 🙂
And finally, you’ll need a credit card processor to accept money!
That is the bare bones list of software you will need to launch your self hosted course and start making money.
What you sacrifice by saving money in the early days you will make up for with some manual work.
You will have a little less automation. A little less reporting.
But, you will have what you need.
With great content, these pieces of software, and your effort you will be able to offer your students an exceptional experience that they will want to tell their friends and colleagues about!